your kitty cat shows flu like symptoms,running nose,cough, tearing eyes,
ulcerated eyes, constipation, very small size, even a closed eye that might
You might want to read up on chlamydia, a bacterial disease which also has
similar eye symptoms. (Also read up on zithromax, which supposedly greatly
helps chlamdyia. There is also calici virus with similar symptoms and sometimes
ulcer in mouth. Some other links to articles may be found at click for other links
Bacterial and viral conditions respond to different medications. Also many kitty cats have both herpes and chlamydia.
Snowy, my precious kitty cat whom I adopted as a 6 month old wasn't diagnosed
for herpes until I switched vets and after his first prolapsed colon. A famous
hospital in NYC just said he had snot coming out of his nose. I am convinced
that the herpes virus and the frequent antiobiotics created the situation
that led to the constipation and prolapse.
Yuki is prone
to urinary infections. This might also be related to feline herpes..the jury is still out.
What have I learned? I am not a vet and these are just suggestions
Dr. Dennis Hacker, Dr.Margaret Muns and Dr.Elizabeth
Hodgkins gave me permission to post their information regarding feline herpes
on this website. They have not approved the links I have included on this
site. I do want to thank them so very much. I do hope you visit their respective
sites and gather more information and help. This page is dedicated to my
Snowball and all the very special kitty cats who suffer from the virus.
I have just added a new page about Shakespeare and his diet and the wonderful care he has been given by his companion by Darlene. Please click here for Shakespeare and treating herpes.
I added a page written by Spirit Cat who takes care of more than
sixty incredible kitty cats. She has had vast hands on experience with
rescues who have herpes. I now understand when she often writes"some people
have lives and others have cats"-click for mooseheartmews
- you might need(probably) antiviral prescription medications if ocular condition is severe
- eliminate stress-"The three most common stressful events that cause FHV re-activation are:
1) a new cat or dog is brought into the household
2) your cat is moved to a new household
3) you go away on vacation
Basically, anything that alters the normal daily routine of your cat may permit
viral re-activation."that quote was from vrcc
- you might want to buy Feliway. revival animal appears to currently be the cheapest source.
Doug bought it to help with the stress of introducing two groups of kitty
cats into one home. One usually thinks of Feliway for marking and inappropriate
urinating. For some cats, it reduces stress and thus helps our herpes cats.
Stress can produce the flareups.
Another member suggests warm compesses:
There is one suggestion that I've not encuntered that makes a big
difference to Indya as well as his siblings, Chyna, Myrrh, and Syam.
For diferent reasons with each of them, but affective none the less,
and that is hot compresses.
For years, and with past family members, I've avoided vet costs and
tramatic visits for abscesses,allergies,wounds, and just about
anything the immune system needs a hand with.
Run the hot water to very hot - you will control the temperature of
the corner of the facecloth before applying it to whatever part of
the body requires attention. What happens is the heat stimulates the
white cells to increase and rush to the site of the heat where the
wound/mucus et. is. Only heat a small portion of the cloth and always
test it against your inner arm. Judge the area of the body you are
applying it to. How thick is the hair how much tougher is the area,
such as a flank versus the back of a paw or the pads, pads being the
most sensitive. So when I use compresses to help Indya with mucus
build up, I'm putting along the side of the nostril and including the
sinus area of the same side, being watchful not to apply too much
heat to his eye. When he gets hot compresses for a thick mucus build-
up the heat aids in a more thinner fluid to surround the mucus and
help move it out via the nostril or for body absorbtion.
Be careful not to burn your little friends, but I hope this offers
yet another way to make them comfortable.
Another member of the felineherpes group has had great success with the product Feline Immune Support for Cats
A synergistic blend combining Bee Pollen, Astragalus, Vitamin
C, Garlic, and L-lysine specifically targeted to stimulate the
feline immune system"
Another member recommends Gentocin without steroids for upper respiratory problems. "It's important not
to use the gentacin durafilm or
any other combination with a steroid as
this will aggravate the herpes. I've
had really good luck with the drops in
the nose and I always get it from my
N,N-Dimethylglycine (DMG), an immune support helps build and detoxify
- eliminate if possible changes in environment-extreme temperatures even
a high quality food-ienatural balance, wysong, possibly Felidae or homecooked-raw food runs
the slight risk of exposuring your kitty cat's immune system to parasites
and foodbourne infections-
- add flaxseed oil and yogurt-flaxseed helps with constipation besides helping the immune system
- you want to add acidophilis-(contained in yogurt)
- Many people on the felineherpes list have had great results giving echinacea-they use the alcohol free drops
- possibly melatonin
- a zinc supplementcucumin
- possibly vitamin C-
- possibly l-lysine which is antagonistic to arginine and appears to halt viral replicationThere is a very cheap capsule form of 500 mg at iherb.com. If you feed wet food you can sprinkle it on. How much Lysine should you give your herpes cat? Supposedly the avisable dose is between 250 and 500 mg but some people give as much as 1000 without seeing any negative side effects. You can also buy it in the powder for which is really cheap but you have to bother to measure each time. If you use the tablet, you can always buy a pill popper. Most of the people on the herpes support group at yahoo give their kitty cats lysine and see the positive affects.
Here is some information from Vet's Cafe group on Yahoo by a vet
"From: Alex Gallagher
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2007 9:46 PM
Subject: Re: [Pet Vet Cafe ] Advice needed on L-lysine dosing
The short answer is we don;t entirely know. A recent
study published in April out of UC Davis looked at
feeding a lysine supplemented vs a basal diet for a 52
day period. Arginine levels were statistically
significantly lower in cats fed the lysine
supplemented diet, but no adverse effects were
clinically evident. The authors state that the
supplemented diet provided approximately rhe
equivalent of 500-mg lysine twice a day. Further
studies are needed to know what the long term (months
or years) effects of therapy may be. As with most
long terms medications, titrating to the least
effective dose may be the reasonable way to go. If
there is concern in an individual patient, plasma
arginine levels could be measured. In my own
experiance I have not noted any issues in cats
receiving long term lysine, but mostly I have used a
total dose of 500-mg per day.
This is more advise as to the 1000 dosage of lysine :
"1000 mg of L-Lysine/day is not recommended.
amounts of L-Lysine will deplete Arginine. Arginine (an amino acid) is essential to the
processing of protein; cats with arginine insufficiency cannot
convert ammonia to urea, and hence get a condition called
"hyperammonemia"--an excess of ammonia in the blood: ammonia
intoxication. Arginine deficiency will also lead to hyperglycemia,
lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and imbalance, and VERY rapid
weight loss (sometimes as much as 5-10% body weight in 24 hours).
Cats, as carnivores, are extremely sensitive to arginine deficiency.
Please do not over-supplement L-Lysine. The recommended dosage for
cats w/FHV is 500 mg/day. Do not give any more than that without
explicit instructions from your veterinarian.
This is NOT true AND true, at the same time. There has been
scientific studies done on UC Davis, which implied that overdose of L-
Lysine is simply not possible, because the cats will not eat the food
if the halt of L-Lysine is so high that it can be dangerous. In tests
the cats refused to eat the food when the halt of L-Lysine was above
8 % (!!!!) of the food, and even that was not close to being
dangerous. The recommended doseage of L-Lysine is 1000 mg/day! 500 mg
twice a day, so Michelle is doing it EXACTLY right. But yes, you are
right in the fact that L-Lysine lowers the levels of Arginine, and
that IS dangerous. BUT... if the cat is offered a diet that consists
of meatbase products as for an example a complemental feeding of meat
every day, there is no proble since meat contains more than enough of
Arginine to compensate the loss due to L-Lysine use.
But the sudden strong ammonia smell could implement that the
Arginine levels are too low. But the dosage of L-Lysine should not be
lowered, instead increase the amount of Arginine.
- I run to the vets when Snowy has a bad flareup and get antibiotics..otherwise I try to stay away from antiobiotics
vets appear to not think that chronic use of antibiotics is good..as the
kitty cat gets olders, the immune system and possible tolerance for stress
gets higher..so the flareups run their course and are less frequent and less
- don't let your kitty cat skip more than two meals-force
feed if necessary-puree liver and blend with chicken soup-just puree any
meat-just use baby food-
- get high calorie low supplement like Nutrical
- get electrolytes for possible dehydration-pedialyte.
companion strongly recommends Nu- Cat(Tabby Tabs "Taurine (to support eye
health and reproductive processes) GLA and LA (essential fatty acids to promote
a healthy coat and skin), and Perna canaliculus (a rich source of glycosaminoglycans
to support joint flexibilty and mobility")
- during respiratory flareups you might want to get a warming pad. I haven't checked prices but here is an assortment Beds and Pads
Puralube Vet Ointment For use as a protectant
against further irritation, or to relieve
dryness of the eye-a member of the feline herpes group uses puralube to lubricate
her kitty cat's eyes during flareups
- Art's companion recommends Olivet Gluta-DMG -click here for Oli-Vet and Gluta DMG or Nu Cat-now called Tabby tabs or on the graphic for US Animal Nutritional above
click here is a brief write up on Oli-Pet
- you may want to try Gentiana12 and Isatis6 and possibly Paris&-Chinese Patent Medicine by Seven Forests
can order direct for $12 dollars each. They also the book A Bag of Pearls
for $20 dollars that explains the formulas-and Chinese herbs. The number
- you may want to try chamomille and mullein
tea bags..make certain they are warm and not hot..chamomille is soothing
but was just recently told that it has antinimflammatory properties..have
read that at least one study has shown mullein has antiviral properties-tested
with herpes simplex
- please check out Thorne's Virolyte with your vet-two of the women on the felineherpes thread have had great success with it-
Vitammune (with Chinese Traditional Medicine name in
Actually the nasal vaccine can work on a small number of cats already
infected. I was told about 10% of infected cats stop having symptoms
with the nasal vaccine. We used it with our 2 herpes kittens. One
stopped having symptoms, the other had no change. The nasal vaccine goes
straight to the source (eyes and nose) and can stimulate the immune
system to react.
It also does not have the additional dangers of feline cancer due to the
adjuvants not having to be used, or potential kidney damage due to the
vaccines being developed on renal cells.
Anyes and the girls"
the many products KVVET sells, Maxi/guard oral gel is one of them. Oral gel
for cats' dental needs. Read a recent research study strongly suggesting
might help for stomatis, gingivitis,oral ulcers, problems associated with
feline herpes Clinical and microbiological effects of oral zinc ascorbate gel in cats.
The results of this
study suggest that zinc ascorbate gel used as an oral antiseptic improves feline oral health, and
may be most effective in decreasing bacterial growth, plaque formation, and gingivitis when
applied following a professional teeth cleaning procedure.
Doug uses is Q-Gel for his cats whose have tooth problems as it is better absorbed into the system than CoQ10. In
depth article on blocking regional pain for tooth extraction, ie stomatitis
etc..-if teeth get so bad, your kitty cat might need extraction, you might
want to print out article for your vetClick here foranother great site for stomatitis which includes remedies and links
Some in the group have had great success with Genesis Herbal Feline Immune system support-Bee Pollen, Astragalus, Vitamin C, Garlic, and L-lysine specifically targeted to stimulate the feline immune system. You can buy it at National Pet Store
For eye related
problems, Doug has had great success with Vira-A, a slightly different and
cheaper product than Monarch Pharmacy's Vitropic. Monarch has discontinued
Vira-A but Teresa, another member of the feline herpes group found that you
can order it from a compounding pharmacy. She did from Wedgewood Pharmaceuticals((800-331-8272)(with
her vet's prescription and paid 40 dollars plus $4.95 shipping.! Doug has
let me provide his comments as to Vira-a and how he administers it. click here for Vira-A description written by Joycie's Doug-a must read
interferon-my vet said it has been around since the seventies and they are
always trying to find a use of it-if you check out research on the human
health links-it is often mentioned with Hepatitis C-but the herpes virus
is a different "beast"-an intense description of a comparision among three
viruses can be foundviral evasion here
- Please join the egroups felineherpes-to ask and share information.
- Feline herpes egroup for sharing and giving emotional support
Dr. Hacker's article
Reprint from PetEducation on Upper Respiratory Diseases in Cats-
Related Herpes Links
Dr.Dennis Hacker's Website
Dr.Margaret Muns Website-
I am a veterinarian and an Ocicat breeder who has some
knowledge and experience with feline herpes virus infection. First, I would
caution everyone against the use of L-lysine in young
cats at the dosages required for efficacy. The rationale for the use of
this amino acid is the disruption of viral reproductive
capabilities through unbalancing of the amino acid "environment" of the virus.
Naturally, the cat's amino acid environment becomes
somewhat unbalanced as well. This can be tolerated well
by adult cats, but not by younsters, especially those less than 6 months
of age. Also, idoxuridine opthalmic drops are very
effective and although somewhat expensive, are well worth the cost if the
disease, and permanent effects, can be eliminated
using this drug. A good opthamic anti-viral ointment is Vira-A, costing
about $30 a tube, and the idoxuridine drops cost about
the same for about 10 ml (an amount that will tyically
treat several kittens with herpes for several days). Elizabeth Hodgkins
One of the more common ophthalmic problems
seen in our cat patients is infections caused by herpesvirus. This
virus causes conjunctivitis (inflammation of the moveable white tissue surrounding
the eye) and/or corneal ulcers. Occasionally sneezing and mouth ulcers occur
in some patients. We hope this paper will give you information concerning
this common condition.
WHAT DOES A VIRUS DO?
A virus is not alive in the sense that you, I, your
cat and even bacteria are alive. A virus is a capsule that contains only
protein or nucleic acids known as DNA. This DNA is the building block that
makes all of us who and what we are. As it is not alive, a virus particle
cannot reproduce without a living cell to which it is able to attach itself.
Once attached to a susceptible cell (a cell that will support the virus growth),
the viral DNA (vDNA) is injected into the cell. The vDNA then continues
to the cell nucleus that is the 'control center' of the cell. The
vDNA then inserts itself into the cell's DNA. This causes the cell to start
manufacturing new virus particles. To do this, the cell takes nucleic acids
and proteins from the area surrounding itself and uses them to form new vDNA.
This concept is important in how we must treat viruses that we will see below.
WHAT IS HERPESVIRUS?
Feline herpesvirus is specific to cats. There are also dog herpesvirus,
people herpesvirus, cow herpesvirus, chicken herpesvirus and horse herpesvirus.
In fact, most animals have their own type of herpesvirus. These viruses
will not infect other species, i.e., when a cat has herpesvirus, the owner
has nothing to fear as far as getting the disease. Herpesvirus is a common
respiratory pathogen (infectious agent) that causes an upper respiratory
disease in most cats. The virus is everywhere and it infects most cats in
almost every cattery in the country. It is our belief that almost every kitten
is exposed to this virus following birth as the virus is often found in the
birth canal of the queen. As a respiratory disease, the virus is acquired
by aerosol, that is one cat sneezing around another cat. The virus is killed
by drying and sunlight but can live for many hours in a moist, cool environment.
The problems associated with herpesvirus depend on the age at which the cat
first acquires the virus. Neonatal conjunctivitis occurs in kittens who have
not yet opened their eyes. In young cats, 6 months to 4 years, conjunctivitis
(redness of the white of the eye) A young kitten with neonatal conjunctivitis.
The arrow indicates an infection which had developed behind closed eyelids.
A young kitten with neonatal
conjunctivitis. The arrow indicates an infection which had developed behind
Herpesvirus conjunctivitis in a juvenile
and possible corneal
ulcers (erosions) may occur.
Adult cat with herpesvirus corneal
ulcers. Dendritic ulcers are indicated by the arrow.
conjunctivitis in a juvenile kitten. and possible
corneal ulcers (erosions) may occur. Adult cat with herpesvirus corneal ulcers.
Dendritic ulcers are indicated by the arrow. In older patients, conjunctivitis
is most often seen. Sneezing may or may not be seen in any of these patients.
Most often, our patients have had a long-standing history of conjunctivitis
and/or corneal ulcers that will not heal. We have seen cats who have
had herpesvirus infections for as long as 12 years! When herpesvirus invades
nerve tissues, a possibility of relapse exists. Perhaps only 15-to-20% of
the cats with herpesvirus infections have relapses, yet this possibility
must be kept in mind. As many of my clients know, human herpesvirus may
cause the skin conditions known as 'cold sores' and 'shingles.' As with 'cold
sores' and 'shingles, ' any stressful episode may cause a recurrence of the
infection. In cats, a relapse may be triggered by the owner leaving town
and a stranger coming in to feed the cats, being boarded, or strangers
or new animals coming for a visit. We have one patient that has a new episode
of herpesvirus every time the client leaves town for a business trip. Knowing
this helps us understand the recurrence of redness following a stressful
episode. This redness indicates a probable return of the herpesvirus infection
and requires re-institution of the medication. Again, these relapses do
not occur commonly.
HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE HERPESVIRUS?
Herpesvirus infection should be suspected
anytime a cat has an eye problem that does not respond to antibiotics (which
have no effect on viruses). To diagnose a herpesvirus infection, after applying
a topical anesthetic, a scraping of cells is made from the eye and placed
on a slide. The slide is submitted to a laboratory for a specific test procedure
known as an Polimerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. This test is quite specific
when compared to other tests. A different staining test can be performed
which is known as the Indirect Flourescent Antibody Test (IFA). While the
IFA test is not as precise as the PCR test, performing both tests
simultaneously gives a better infection indicator as to whether your cat
does or doesn't have herpes than either test alone. Another test that can
be used is virus isolation that actually grows the virus in tissue cultures.
This test takes up to 1 month and is quite costly.
HOW DO YOU TREAT HERPESVIRUS?
If you or your child has a bacterial infection,
a strep throat for example, penicillin may be given and the penicillin
will kill the strep organism and the infection will go away. This is because
the bacteria are alive and reproducing all the time. As mentioned earlier,
a virus is active only when it gets into a cell. This is why antibiotics
do not kill viruses. Since the living cells must bring in nucleic acids and
proteins (protein building blocks) from the local cellular environment
to make new viruses, the only way to kill susceptible viruses is to put
abnormal proteins and nucleic acids in the environment. This is the way herpesvirus
is killed. We use medications such as Herplex®, Viroptic®, or Vira-A® to
introduce abnormal proteins into the environment. The infected cells draw
these proteins into itself and use them to make new virus particles. These
virus particles will then not be able to reproduce. Because we do not know
how long it takes to kill all the virus particles this way, treatment must
be continued for 4-to-6 weeks or longer! Occasionally, patients need
to be treated longer. Herpesvirus can become resistant to these medications.
This does not happen often, yet this fact should be kept in mind, especially
if a patient initially improves and then relapses. If resistance occurs to
one medication, a change to another medication can be made. If resistance
occurs to all the commercial eye medications, an oral drug called Zovirax®
(acyclovir) may be prescribed. This drug appears to work well in humans and
rabbits, yet the full spectrum of its side-effects is not known in the cat.
This drug is reserved for the most resistant cases. Eye medications must
be applied often. This means 5 times a day! For clients who do not
work or working clients on weekends, the medication is applied every 3 hours
for 5 treatments. During the week for clients who work, I recommend treating
when you awaken, before leaving for work, when you get home, half-way
between arriving home and bedtime, and bedtime. This is 5 times a day although
they are not equally spaced. One other aspect of these anti-herpes medications
should be kept in mind. That is that any protein has the ability to cause
an allergic response! You may know of someone who wears soft contact lenses.
If they fail to clean the lenses to remove their body proteins, an allergic
reaction occurs which may be quite irritating. As stated above, you
are applying abnormal proteins directly into the eye of your pet. If you
notice the eye and eyelid becoming quite red, you must call us immediately.
Due to the possibility of the allergic response and the virus becoming resistant
to the medication, re-examinations are critical. In addition to the medication
previously discussed, we will probably dispense two others: Interferon and
lysine. Interferon is a natural chemical produced by the body to fight off
viruses. The application of this to the eyes five times daily induces the
patient to produce more of their own interferon. We have also found that
after the active infection is controlled, the use of interferon even once
a day seems to help prevent relapses! Finally, lysine has been shown to help
kill herpesvirus. Lysine is very safe in cats. If it is possible to give
your pet tablets by mouth, lysine has been a definite help in cats with
herpesvirus infections. If all three medications are prescribed for your
pet, you will be using Herplex® (idoxuridine), interferon and lysine. The
idoxuridine is applied to the eye(s) five times daily as stated above. Interferon
is applied to the eyes five times daily and one minute after the idoxuridine.
Lysine is given by mouth twice daily and may be mixed with food although
the best way to give it is to simply pop it down the mouth. Although
herpesvirus infections are treatable, the infections can be frustrating
because not every cat can be treated the same as all others. Sometimes medication
must be changed to provide results. Patience from everyone, you, your cat
and your ophthalmologist is required.
Copyright © 1998 * Animal Eye Specialists, El
Cerrito, CA. * All Rights Reserved Dr.Dennis Hacker gave
me permission to repost his article His website is at Animal Eye Specialist
Dennis Hacker, D.V.M., DIPLOMATE, A.C.V.O. (Veterinary Ophthalmologist)
10324 San Pablo Ave.
El Cerrito, CA 94530
Here's some info that'll help. If a cat has FHV-1 it'll be a carrier for life. If
it doesn't flare, it's either got a good immune system OR it's not a carrier after
Herpes viruses will remain in animal for life if it is a latent carrier. NOTHING
will get rid of it. Nothing except a stress free environment perhaps) will prevent
a flare. SOME people have used Interferon, but even that is iffy..
So here's some info (from an old post)
Here's what I have in my ophthalmology textbook (published 1991):
Feline herpes virus is the most well known cause of infectious conjunctivitis (inflammation
of the tissues lining the inside of the eyelids and the exterior of the eye) in the
cat. More commonly, this virus is also known as the feline rhinotracheitis virus.
The typical clinical syndrome of primary feline herpes virus infection is an acute
conjunctivitis/respiratory infection in kittens or adolescent cats. Sneezing and
eye/nasal discharge is commonly seen. Usually, a course of 10-14 days is the rule.
However, incubation time and
duration of illness depends on the quantity of virus the cat is exposed to.
In most cases, the primary infection resolves with no residual eye disease. However,
following recovery from primary herpes virus infection, approximately 80% of cats
will become what is called latently infected. This basically means that they become
the virus. About 45% of cats that are latently infected (carriers) will experience
spontaneous reactivation of the virus during their lifetime. When the virus reactivates,
the cat will show clinical signs of conjunctivitis. Some cats may not show clinical
signs and only just shed the virus during episodes.
Feline herpes virus can also cause conjunctivitis in adult cats that presumably have
been exposed to, and recovered from the virus earlier in life. In these cats, there
is no history of respiratory involvement. Another distinguishing feature in this
syndrome of infection is that these cats usually have a unilateral eye infection.
Cats affected with the respiratory form will have bilateral disease.
The disease in adult cats is further differentiated from the acute respiratory syndrome
by the tendency for the problem to become chronic and recurrent in nature.
Sometimes, feline herpes virus can be associated with inadequate tear production
in the eye. This is something that should be watched for. Feline herpes virus can
also infect the cornea (the clear portion of the eyeball) and cause small branching
corneal ulcers. All cats with
suspected herpes infection should have the eyes stained to look for the ulcers.
Because these ulcers can be very shallow, the veterinarian may need to use Rose Bengal
stain instead of flourescein. you need to know if the cornea is involved because
that will dictate
your treatment options.
Treatment of feline herpes virus conjunctivitis is non specific. Because a virus
is responsible, there is little you can do to eliminate the primary pathogen. Instead,
you usually are limited to going after the secondary bacterial invaders. Tetracycline
ophthalmic ointment is indicated because of its efficacy against Chlamydia and mycoplasmal
infection. It should be applied four times daily.
Sometimes, cats may find this medication very irritating. If that occurs, a different
antibiotic should be given. Cortisone should never given to these cats because of
its immune suppressing properties and because they may have corneal ulcers.
Specific anti viral therapy is possible, but, according to my text, it is usually
reserved for the more chronic and severe cases. I do have a 1993 article that advocates
using both antibiotics and anti viral medication herpes conjunctivitis. However,
they point out that the
efficacy of topical anti viral medication in controlling herpes virus conjunctivitis
without corneal involvement is undetermined. Instead, Anti viral medications should
probably be reserved for cases with corneal involvement. Mild corneal lesions usually
respond fairly dramatically to applications of anti viral ophthalmic ointment.
I really don't have anything about giving oral antibiotics to these cats. You really
don't even give oral anti viral medication. Again, oral medication is going to never
get to the cornea and conjunctiva. Topical medication is more appropriate.
If a cat has confirmed feline herpes virus infection, then expect relapses during
his lifetime. This will never go away. Chances are, he will carry the virus for
life. He probably won't become a chronic sneezing kitty. Instead, he will become
a chronic eye infection kitty.
As for the other cats. The only thing you can do is keep their vaccinations up to
date. Feline herpes is included in the routine combination distemper vaccination
for cats. Vaccination is never 100% effective, but that's the only protection we
As for specific anti viral medication. Usually, you use ioxuridine ointment or Trifluridine
solution. Like I said before, these things can be pretty irritating. You can't give
anything like oral azt because of extreme toxicity with those medications.
Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other questions.
Margaret Muns DVM
Staff Veterinarian, Best Friends Forum
First of all, let's clear up some terminology. You don't see FVR in the
newer literature.FVR was the old name for the disease called Feline
rhinotracheitis. We now designate this infection as being rhinophenumonitis
caused by the Feline Herpes virus type 1 virus. So you will see this
a FHV-1 in the recent literature. It's important to could this up because
I'll be using recent literature references to help answer your question.
Were these cats confirmed
as being feline herpes virus 1 carriers by a good medical workup? The reason
I ask is that it is very difficult to "know" that a cat has FHV-1
definitively. That is because several pathogens in the feline upper respiratory
disease complex (herpes virus, calicivirus, Chlamydia, Mycoplasma
and Bordatella) may be present in the same environment. Clinical
symptoms associated with several of these agents may be similar and often
there is more than one agent involved in producing a given cat's
upper respiratory/ocular symptoms. The presence of keratitis and corneal
ulceration is a specific diagnostic clue that strongly implicates
the involvement of FHV-1. (Wolf A M. Other Feline Viral Diseases. In: Textbook
of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Fifth edition, volume one. Ettinger
SJ, Feldman EC, editors. WB Saunders, Philadelphia 2000. 444-453)
Routine hematology and biochemical profiles are not helpful
in diagnosing FHV-1 infections and usually reflect general debilitating
effects of viral ailments. Virus isolation is best performed on conjunctival
or pharyngeal swabs from acutely infected cats. Attempts to isolate
virus from chronic carrier cats may be disappointing because FHV-1 is shed
only intermittently. Conjunctival and nasal scrapings or biopsies
can be evaluated for typical intranuclear herpes virus inclusions, by cytologic
or histologic examination, or by immunofluorescent antibody testing.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is a more specific and sensitive
method for detecting FHV-one infection in both acutely infected and
chronic carrier cats (Wolf, 2000)
Following recovery from acute FHV-one infection many cats
become chronic carriers. Virus is shed periodically in these animals
(it's not constant-that is very important). Episodes of viral shedding
are often associated with stress or cortisone administration. Clinical
signs of illness are often absent and chronic FHV-1 carriers so they are
difficult to identify. But they can be a source of infection for
in contact cats. Some chronic carriers have intermittent (again that's important)
signs of keratitis/conjunctivitis or mild rhinitis during a relapse
of viral activity. (Wolf, 2000)
This last paragraph is very important! These cats show intermittent
symptoms. They do not have continual symptoms as a rule. The exception
would be if you have a cat with severe corneal ulceration. That can take
a longtime to get under control. But in most cases, these cats have
attacks and then it's over again until the next attack.
There is nothing you can do to get rid of the virus. If these
cats are FHV-1 carriers in truth, then they will have the virus for life.
It will never go away. Apparent recoveries happen because the virus
goes latent again. It's not because a particular medicine worked to
clear the virus. Instead, the virus was suppressed enough to allow the
immune system to shove it back down into latency. All herpes viruse
act like this. L-lysine will not get rid of it although some opthalmologists
do recommend it ( Wolf, 2000). Ophthalmic antiviral agents can be
used for animals with herpes virus keratitis. You have to give it to them
4-6 times a day, and medicines can be quite irritating. Most cats
will vigorously resist when this medication is put in their eyes. Some people
have advocated using oral alph interferon to suppress the virus.
But that has had limited success. The use of systemic antiviral therapy to
treat FHV-1 infections is controversial. Acyclovir can be very efficacious
for treating human herpes simplex, but FHV-1 has been shown to be
resistant to its effects. Other drugs in the same category can be highly
toxic to cats. (Wolf, 2000)
The discharge your seen from the eyes is discharge that happens
whenever eyes become irritated. It's the same thing that happens
whenever other tissues get irritated. A clear discharge usually indicates
an inflammatory response, while thick green or yellow discharge
indicates secondary bacterial infection. FHV-1 can be shed in ocular secretions
as well as oral nasal secretions. (Wolf, 2000)
Hope this helps. I think the most important saying
you have to take away from this information is that you will be struggling
with this for the lifetime of the cats if this is truly FHV-1. Nothing
will get the virus out of their bodies. You may get a remission. But you
will not get resolution or cure. They will relapse at one time and
there is no way to predict when that will happen.
Feel free to ask any other questions.
It depends what stain was used. Rose Bengal stain can identify superficial dendritic herpes ulcers that are not
deep enough to stain with fluorescein. So if the Vet put in fluorescein and it didn't stain that didn't necessarily
mean that there weren't dendritic herpes virus ulcers there. It may have meant that the ulcers were not deep
enough yet to stain with fluorescein. By far, fluorescein stains are the most commonly used ocular stains in
private practice. But don't think too many people have Rose Bengal.
Again, I have seen plenty of cases of ulcerative keratitis in dogs and cats. I'm ranking my brain to think of an
uncomplicated case that had pupil changes. That you can see changes in the pupil if you have a very deep ulcer
(descemetocele) or a perforation. But a superficial ulcer should not have changes in the pupil. The pain from the
ulcer comes from spasming of the iris muscles. That's why with deeper ulcers you use atropine because it is a
cycloplegic. Now in cats, you have to use atropine containing medications carefully. If the atropine gets into the
tear duct system, aching drain into their mouth. Atropine is very bitter, so it can make them foam at the mouth
I'm rather ticked that upon re-check, this Vet ordered the eye drop w/ steroid in it......seeing how the
UNDIAGNOSE ulcer was still there.......wouldn't it be common sense that this would be extremely
contraindicated?? That is why I stopped it after 3 days....from the reading I was doing about risks of
using steroids w/ ulcers...and the fact that her eye seemed to be getting WORSE, not better (which of
course is curious..because you'd expect the steroid to decrease the inflammation, which it definitely
wasn't!). Should I complain to this Vet for ordering this? It really upsets me to think using this could have
done HORRIBLE damage to the eye.....what if I would have continued using it for the full 5 days? I
shudder to think. Was this negligent on her part?
I can't be untruthful: it is extremely contraindicated to put any cortisone containing medications in an eye that
has, or may have an ulcer. That is because the steriod impairs corneal healing. Now, in defense of the
veterinarian, if there wasn't stain retention with fluorescein, then I can see why a cortisone medication could be
prescribed. But in your first post you said "after a couple days, decided to get to vet to be on the safe side. Vet
examined eye, noted an ulcer (she also used some type of dye/stain to examine the eye surface). She figured
ulcer was due to scratch from one of my other cats." So I took that is meaning that an ulcer was diagnosed at
the first visit. A medication called fucithalmic ointment was prescribed with instructions to try this for five days.
At the next visit the ulcer remained in the corneal looked cloudy so then Gentocin Durafilm was prescribed. That's
where I got into a tizzy because it looked like a cortisone preparation had been prescribed for case with a known
unresolved ulcer. That is a big no-no! But, if the ulcer wasn't there, that's a different story.......
It's true, you can usually have a pretty good guess at the diagnosis of feline herpesvirus keratitis based on the
symptoms. Confirmation of diagnosis can be done by looking for inclusion bodies on conjunctival scrapings. In
addition, there is a PCR test available for feline herpesvirus. According to my references is a more specific and
sensitive method for detecting infection in both acutely infected and chronic carrier cats ( Ettinger 2000). You
just have to find a veterinary reference laboratory that will perform the test since it is not probably that widely
available. Other options for diagnosis include immunofluorescent antibody testing. But again, you have to send
that out to a veterinary reference laboratory.
As for this pupil thing, I've been doing some reading on Horner's Syndrome......which is where one pupil
appears LARGER than the other, but the larger pupil is actually the NORMAL one. Some of the causes I
believe are trauma to the eye, tumors, etc, correct? ....I also read of a condition called (sp?)
anisocoria...in which one pupil is a different size than the other
Horner's syndrome is one type of anisocoria. Anisocoria just means "unequal pupil size". It can be caused by many
different conditions in cats. Reported causes of Horner's syndrome in cats are external ear canal disease, middle
ear disease, thoracic neoplasia (lymphoma), cervical trauma from bite wounds and car accidents, complications of
thyroid surgery, carotid artery catheterization, traumatic brachial root avulsion, spinal cord neoplasia and trauma
to the orbital sympathetic fibers. Horner's syndrome can also be idiopathic in cats. miosis (small pupil) is the most
consistent clinical sign of feline Horner's syndrome and it is usually accompanied by some degree of third eyelid
protrusion. Enophthalmos and ptosis occur commonly but less consistently. In one study of 16 cases, the clinical
signs resolved in the majority of animals within 32 weeks suggesting that the prognosis in general is good. (Gelatt
Are you anywhere near a veterinary college hospital? If so, you can have kitty seen there if you want another
opinion. Clearly it's bestter to make SURE the pupilary changes are something relatively benign like perhaps
idiopathic Horner's instead of uveitis. If you can't get that much then the other option is to find out where you
can go to GET that info.
The l-lysine probably won't hurt. I for one try to adhere to accepted literature references as it's the only way to
have some accountable standard to go on. I tend to NEVER go with something I read on line unless I can back it
up with hard data. But that's just the "old fashioned" hard line approach I've always used and it's never let me
down in 14 years. Too many docs get into trouble by "inventing" their own version of medicine IMO.
Hang in there!
Margaret Muns DVM
Staff Veterinarian, Best Friends Forum
Staff Veterinarian, Best Friends Forum
lovely woman posted this on the felineherpes group re corneal ulcers-please
read it and ask your vet if your kitty cat has corneal ulcers
feline calici virus
After a bad chlamydia infection in her eye, my cat had a rather large
corneal ulcer. A lady from South Africa responded to my request for
suggestions about how to deal with this. She said that two South
African veterinarians discovered that aspirin heals corneal ulcers
and that she has not had a problem with them since finding this out.
Here is what she said:
The dosage is as follows- to be given orally.
20mg/kg (no more no less) of soluble aspirin in water given alternate
days for 5 days. i.e. 1 dose Monday, . 1 dose, Wedmesday. 1 dose
Friday per mouth.
Mix the dose with a small amount of water ie. 1/2 cc/ml
Continue with any eye meds in the eye until at least 5 days after it
Adjust dosage for a kitten to 10mg/kg (2.2 lbs)
For simplicity's sake I have been using 1 baby aspirin (81mg) as the
dosage and then giving her terramycin ointment in her eye twice a
day. In less than 48 hours after giving her the first aspirin, I
could see the needed red blood vessels forming around the edge of the
ulcer. She will receive her third and final dose later today and
upon inspecting the eye this morning, the ulcer looks like it is
about 85% improved over it's condition a few days ago. I don't know
if it's coincidence or not, but I thought I'd pass it on just in case
some of you would like to give it a try on your kitties to see if you
get the same positive results.
Be Certain to go to this site below also for intensive write up by Michael Zigler DVM, Cert.V.Ophthal. Herpes Virus Infection in the Eye-Feline Herpetic Keratitis-very
descriptive article by eye vet-"Corticosteroids may be used in the treatment
of chronic herpetic stromal keratitis to suppress the potentially
scarring immune response if used carefully and in conjunction with an antiviral
agent. Steroids are contraindicated if epithelial or conjunctival
involvement is still active, because they delay re-epithelialization,
prolong virus shedding and may allow conjunctival and corneal epithelial
infection to involve the corneal stroma. Alternatively, topical Cyclosporine
may be used with caution to reduce the scarring associated with herpesvirus
stromal keratitis."kcs-Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or Dry Eye"Commercial
tear replacement products such as Tears Naturale II, Hypotears,
and Isopto-Tears are suitable. Artificial tears alone do not
lubricate as well as natural tears, so we recommend the addition of a lubricant
in addition to the use of artificial tear solutions. Lacrilube, Tear
Gel or Hylashield Nite are suitable...Corticosteroids (cortisone drugs) cannot
be used when ulcers are present because they decrease healing speed
and enhance the ulcer process. "..he also mentions cyclosporine as one of
latest drugsEye problems stemming from eyelids..written by Dr. Hacker
Tumours,Entropion and Ectropion,Lagophthalmos,Eyelid Agenesis(coloboma),Epibulbar
Dermoid,Eyelash Abnormalities("Trichiasis is a condition of normal hairs
lying on or irritating the globe. Examples of this would be very long facial
hairs in long haired dogs and nasal folds in the Pekingese. Also tiny hairs
at the nose side of the eye can act as a wick and cause tear spilling in
Miniature Poodles and Persian cats. Distichiasis is the condition of eyelashes
coming out of an abnormal position such as the glands that are located along
the eyelid edge. Districhiasis is more than 1 eyelash coming out of each
of the gland openings. Ectopic cilia are abnormal hairs that exit a hair
follicle on the inside of the eyelid. Ectopic cilia are very painful. The
successful elimination of the offending hairs will require surgical treatment.
")Feline Corneal Sequestrum" Caution is required however, as
some cats with sequestrum are positive for feline herpesvirus, and topical steroid may incite reactivation of
latent herpesvirus infection. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for feline herpesvirus is recommended for
cats with corneal sequestrum."
FelineHerpes and related informationLINKSSince Snowball was diagnosed with feline herpes, I started
investigating alternative treatments to help prevent flareups and have looked for
natural soothing remedies. Some I have tried and some I plan to try. Some herbal
treatments might be worth trying instead of antibiotics. Antibiotics help rid secondary
symptoms but can create their own problems- ie constipation for one..Snowy had three
prolapsed colons and I am convinced the virus plus the antibiotics made him an accident
waiting to happen.
A lovely woman from WellPet let gave me permission to crosspoint re eyebright and tea
"How about Eyebrite???? I went to a HolisticVeterinary Conference a couple of
years ago and Eyebrite was mentioned as one of the most important herbs for
eye trouble. I like to quote Dr. William G. Winter, DVM, Uptown Veterinarian
and Holistic Practice, Minneapolis, MN: "It's soothing, antiseptic,
anti-inflammatory and cleansing. In general it improves circulation of fluids
throughout the eye. It's used to treat blepheritis, conjunctivitis, corneal
damage, iritis, uveitis, cataracts, glaucoma as well as several other
conditions. More good news: it's cheap, has no know side-effects, it's easy
to find in shops, it's very plentiful in nature, very stable in preparation
when stored properly, and quite importantly, easy to administer. Orally and
topically. It does not taste bad nor does it burn when applied to the eye.
There are beneficial systemic effects on the liver and other organs as well.
Most of the time I use a pure steeped tea straight from the herb shop and
brewed by the client. Tea bags can be used to apply topically as compresses
and the tea can be mixed with food or a treat" ...
- herpes in Herpes Virus or Rhinotracheitis in Catteries, Shelters and Multi Cat Households
Red Marine Algae-Dumontiaceae -a possible alternative to L-Lysine
- red marine algae
- chinese herbs-schizandra
- oregongrapeOregon Grape appears to have antimicrobial properties-
- feline vaccination by Dr.Levy-notice about mucuous and intranasal vaccinations
- herbal suggestions for fiv-also warning re interferon-mentions herpes
- herpes virus lysine?
- Moducare research article mentioning success with FIV cats
- more re herpes get rid of stress-
- DVD Muns nasal disease humidifer
- eyevet.org herpes
- fhv-colorado state-notice re antiobiotics
- animal medical center
"Rhinotracheitis is caused by a herpesvirus
that attacks the eyes, nasal
passages, and trachea (windpipe) of cats."
- eosinophilic conjunctivitis" The
eosinophilic conjunctivitis was treated with both topical steroids
and systemic megesterol acetate (Ovaban). When topical steroids
were used, the herpes virus flared up and resulted in dendritic and
geographic corneal ulceration. Therefore, the cat was treated with
megesterol acetate and the eosinophilic conjunctivitis was well
controlled. Treatment of eosinophilic conjunctivitis in the cat with
megesterol acetate may be the treatement of choice due to the
possibility of herpes virus."
- EOSINOPHILIC KERATITIS"Ketring
has noted cats with typical eosinophilic keratitis in one eye and typical
herpetic keratitis in the other eye. He has also noted cats treated
successfully for herpetic keratitis subsequently developing eosinophilic
keratitis, and he questions that the chronic history of corneal irritation
and ulceration presented in cases of eosinophilic keratitis may be
suggestive of previous herpetic keratitis. "-the article also mentions some
negatives re megesterol acetate-a must read article
http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/cancercure/nutrition.htmalso mentioned in
helping canine cancer patients for appetite..Arm clients with appropriate
information, dietary plans and appetite stimulants such as cyproheptadine
and megesterol acetate from the very beginning. The goal is to prevent anorexia
and weight loss from ever happening.
- check out these abstracts for feline conjunctivitious
- catflu fabcats org
- chart showing foods high in lysine plus arginine content
- more on herpes mentions lysine, interferon etc
- warning re l-lysine
- ocular herpes-suggests artificial tear drops etc
- canineherpes-the article says one of leading causes in puppy deaths
- pine nut extract-
- possible Chinese Herbs to help
Feline Upper Respiratory Disease Complex
peteducation's write up on upper respiratory disease complex..but they leave out fungal possibilities